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A Guide to a FulďŹ lling Senior Life in Whatcom County

ENCORE Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Whatcom Literacy Council pairs English language learners with tutors ........................ C2 It’s never too late to fall in love........................ C6

A supplement of the Lynden Tribune and Ferndale Record


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Ferndale Record

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Relationship through English tutoring A Custer woman finds reward in helping another learn the language By Calvin Bratt editor@lyndentribune.com

   WHATCOM ­ — The ability to read, write and speak English is so basic that it can be taken for granted. But such literacy is not an automatic for many of our companions on the road of life, even locally.    That’s why the Whatcom Literacy Council exists — to bring together English language learners with willing tutors for them.    The WLC works with volunteer tutors all over Whatcom County who give of their time to help other adults learn how to read. And seniors are a key part of the success formula.    Tanya Braumiller is one example. The Custer retiree is a tutor of Anna, a Ukranian woman. They meet twice a week at the Ferndale Library for about 90 minutes of interaction together.    The relationship only began in January. Yet already Tanya feels a good bond with Anna and she sees progress in learning the difficult English language.    Braumiller is quick to say that no one should go into this “with stars in their eyes” about how smooth and easy it will be. “It’s incremental,” she insists.    Although a chemist by training and

Tanya Braumiller, left, of Custer, tutors Ukranian-born Anna in English for 90 minutes twice a week in the Ferndale Library. Below, tutoring pair Imelda and Decatur also use a library as their meeting place. (Courtesy photo) most of her career, Braumiller has some experience in community college-level teaching and also in technical writing, and she brings all those skills to bear upon the tutoring adventure.    She has the testimony of any good teacher: “I find the process very interesting. Whenever you teach, you learn as much as you teach.”    “I always want to form a connection, and I think that’s what’s needed for being a tutor,” she said.    The Whatcom Literacy Council is good in trying to match up a pair as well as possible for compatibility and common traits.    Tanya said she can relate to Anna being a mother and grandmother, and through memories of her own mother coming to the United States from Germa-

ny at age 17 she can appreciate the challenges of a new language and culture in trying to forge a full and satisfying life.    Anna has been speaking Ukranian at home raising children, but now that the last is about to be married she will be more on her own to function in English. For instance, going to the doctor brings up an entire medical vocabulary that Anna wants to know.    English slang and jargon add another dimension.   “She likes to write it down,” Tanya notes appreciately, as this is her own preferred method too. “She has a notebook full of expressions.”    In Anna’s case the need now is to put together words she knows into sentences that communicate.    “She’s a very hard worker. The Literacy


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Ferndale Record

ENCORE Council expects both partners to be committed.”    Braumiller helped Anna get a Whatcom County Library System card and that opens up more possibilities. It may be that an illustrated children’s book is the best teaching tool. The pair use whatever means are most fun and effective.   Braumiller encourages anyone to consider the tutoring path. It was new for her too. “You just have to take that first step. It just has to develop. If you have the time and desire for it, it just unfolds,” she said.    The Literacy Council provides some steps to go through. Orientation videos can be viewed on the website (www.whatcomliteracy.org). You decide whether you want to be a one-on-one tutor, or more in a classroom or small group setting. Then call to 752-8678 to set up an interview. Prospective tutors get three hours of training and learn about resources available.   Executive director Katherine Freimund is enthusiastic about the tutoring experience.    “We have many retirees volunteering with us. Research has shown that volunteering as a senior can have health benefits, and may help a person feel that their life has purpose. We also tout that a program format that brings people from dif-

A special relationship can be built up through English tutoring with the Whatcom Literacy Council. (Courtesy photo) ferent social and economic backgrounds together creates social capital, and strengthens the fabric of our community,” she said in an email.    The partnership with WCLS branches is strong, as tutors and tutees must meet

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in a public place, but Launching Success and The Woods Coffee shops are popular gathering places too.    Sometimes businesses, schools and churches cooperate with the Literacy Council to offer classes to their people.

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One such business is Lynden Door Inc. and the Amor Viviente church of Lynden has had classes coordinated by the Literacy Council.    “We are always recruiting volunteers,” Freimund said.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Ferndale Record

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Over 30? It’s time to train your brain... ...and body exercise can help greatly    Our brain function peaks in our mid-30s years. That’s when we are best at remembering names and faces, quick to retrieve words we want to use, have better response time, and learn more easily.    But certainly not all is lost when we’re older. We now know that it is just as important to train our brains as it is to train our bodies. And, in fact, training the body is good for your brain!    Research shows that these things are important to maintaining a healthy brain: physical exercise, good nutrition, reducing stress, having a positive attitude, being social and changing your environment.    Physical activity helps train your brain by maintaining a steady blood flow to it and encouraging the development of new brain cells. Making regular activity a priority also reduces the risk of other chronic conditions such as dia-

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Ferndale Record

ENCORE betes, obesity and thyroid dysfunction, which have all been shown to contribute to cognitive decline.    Some studies show that regular physical activity can also help protect from developing cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. Experts recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise for the body. It’s a bonus to know that your exercise benefits both your body and your brain.    Healthy food fuels your body and feeds your brain. The basic unit of both the body and the brain is the cell. Good nutrition helps to build and repair cells and provide energy for our cells to live.    Nutritional advice can be confusing, but some basics stand the test of time. This is for sure: eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and mixed nuts. Not only do these foods boost your brain power, but they also help to protect your body against type 2 diabetes, heart disease, muscle weakness and frailty due to aging bones.    When you are stressed, your body activates to go into fight-or-flight mode. Your brain produces hormones to get you ready to fight or run. However, most of us don’t do either of those things at See Brain on C8

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Seniors work on their cardio during a Silver Sneakers Circuit at the Ferndale YMCA on Monday. "It must feel good to be here, after all that snow," said Karin Martin, Ferndale Healthy Living coordinator. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Ferndale Record

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Love happens at any age Ferndale couples celebrate love as seniors By Ashley Hiruko ashley@lyndentribune.com

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FERNDALE — Love can come at any age. And for Clara Limbacher and Albert Warnas, love came to them at the ages of 81 and 83. Limbacher and Warnas met at the Ferndale Senior Center five years ago. “I was the gardener here and he would always stop and chat with me on the way in,” Limbacher said at the very

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Ferndale Record

ENCORE place the two met. The pair sat close to one another during lunchtime on Monday as they explained how their love blossomed. “I thought she was a remarkable lady,” Warnas said. “I admired the way she took care of the plants.” Limbacher soon developed a friendship with Warnas and would spend more and more time with him. Soon she began bringing meals to Warnas’s house and helping out with household chores. The two would also often spend time watching television shows afterward. “I realized he was really a remarkable person, a physicist,” Limbacher said. “I admired the fact that he was a scientist and knew a lot about science and things.” Her face lit up as she explained the first time the couple truly made their feelings known. Limbacher was out in the front of the senior center and unaware of who was coming in and out of the building. As Warnas walked by, he stopped and took her by surprise. “ He stopped me and said ‘I love you’ and we kissed. That was the real beginning.” “I blurted it out,” Warnas chuckled. “It just came out. I couldn’t stop it. I was so surprised.” Although the admiration between

the couple was evident, Warnas said there are differences and compromises that had to be made. “No two people are alike,” Warnas said. “Everyone is unique. We have to make adaptations and that’s what we’re doing all the time.” For Peggy and Allen Hind, love still remains after 58 years of marriage, they said. The pair, originally from Illinois, met through mutual friends. Allen Hind was working for a friend of Peggy's father. “I thought he was a nice guy, and he came to me with high recommendations,” Peggy Hind said. After three daughters, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, the couple is still happily married. Spending time together has helped to keep the pair together, Peggy Hind said. And the Ferndale Senior Center has helped. “It’s just good companionship,” she said. “Having good interest in each other’s interests helps. It might be different than your own, but you should compromise.” Although illness can sometimes take its toll on the couple, the Hinds plan to get back to doing all the things they love — together.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Ferndale Record

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Brain Continued from C5 the time, and those unused hormones can adversely affect memory and learning. In the short term this may not be a problem, but long term it can result in decreased memory as well as increased risk for many chronic diseases.    Take time to identify your stressors and make a list of the most prominent ones. Brainstorm ideas for ways to possibly avoid or deal with each stressor so that there will be less impact on your life and your brain. Because some stress is inevitable, keep in mind that a positive attitude and good sense of humor will go a long way in decreasing your stress when faced with things you cannot change.    Another tool to decrease your stress is to spend more time with others and, even better, spend time with people you enjoy doing activities with that stimulate your brain. Learn something new, travel, watch documentaries, visit historical places, or even do puzzles. Research shows that continuous learning likely protects your brain against some forms

The room was packed with about 15 people decked out in sweats. The Silver Sneakers program aims at promoting physical activity to seniors. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune) of dementia.    Finally, for a richer, less stressful life, get out of your everyday routines once in a while. Rearrange your furniture, drive

to the store a different way, reverse the direction of your walk, go on a local day trip, and try a new restaurant.    Making small changes can improve

your attention, concentration and memory function. It can also make your environment more interesting, which is good for your brain — and fun, to boot.

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